Yesterday Betty Had 4 Legs

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Friday the 13th of November, 2020, Betty had surgery to repair a broken humerus. The repair included a pin inserted into the bone, however, after surgery, our vet told us it was a harder repair than he had anticipated given that he discovered in surgery that Betty has brittle bones.  He feared the surgical repair may not hold and she may require amputation so he insisted we return for a re-check after a few days. This photo of her was was taken yesterday, 4 days post-op humerus repair, and is one of the last photos of her with all 4 legs.  After a rough few days, she finally began getting up on her own and doing a little walking on her 3 good legs. She even sported this tiny little grin! With her obviously feeling better, her wound site healing well with swelling and redness reduced significantly, we thought we were past the hump and on the mend. So, when we got to the re-check appointment today, we were horrified to find that the pin had slipped because the bone which our vet said was like eggshells hadn’t been strong enough to hold it. We faced 2 options now: amputation, or humane euthanasia.

For an 11 year old with orthopedic issues, this was a very difficult decision, particularly given she had the humerus repair surgery just 5 days ago and the fear that putting additional strain on 3 remaining legs (with brittle bones, unknown origin likely heredity or age) comes with it’s own risks. Both of our options bring heartache.

We chose amputation. Ultimately, we wanted to give her more time with us to smile. And even if we only have another 6-12 months with her, as my husband says, that time is still quite significant to a dog whose entire lifespan is so much shorter than our own. Is it the right decision, we aren’t completely sure, and we struggled to make the call. But ultimately, we know in our hearts that Betty is the strongest willed and most stubborn dog we’ve ever met; and, over the course of the humerus post-op she had already begun functioning much like a tripod already, so we felt like we owed her this chance.

The vet called tonight, after Betty’s amputation procedure, and let us know that she handled the anesthesia and procedure well. Whew! So now, we’ll get to pick her up after 10am tomorrow morning, brave happy faces on when we see her, load her into the car and head home to begin our new journey.

We’re scared. About everything. We’re worried about her overnight in the hospital wondering what’s going on and if she’s struggling. We don’t know what the future holds, how she’ll do, how much time we have, whether this will be successful, or whether we made the right choice. What we do know is that bringing her home tomorrow, my husband and mines 14th wedding anniversary, will be a hard day for us all. But, we’re family, and we’ll support one another through this, and cherish the extra time we have with our Newly 3 Legged Big Brown Baby Betty, for as long as we have it.

I know we’re unprepared now, and that we have so much to learn, and quickly. So, please, we welcome the input/advice of the Tripawd community, and wishes for a speedy and full recovery for our old gal, Betty, the Boxer/Shepherd mix.

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